'India’s speedy recovery will ensure a better 2023'

Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India, was speaking at BW HOTELIER IHA-2022

“It’s heartening to get back to physical events in the age of video calls and conferences,” said Arvind Singh, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as he began his address on the inaugural day of the 6th edition of the BW HOTELIER Indian Hospitality Summit and Awards (IHA-2022) at the Taj Palace New Delhi today. This was among the many examples that Singh cited to emphasise on the sector’s growth.

Referring to IHA-2022, Singh said the effort is highly appreciated as it 'inspires people to pursue careers in the hospitality sector'. “We need outreach between academia and the industry to address the disconnect between the sector’s expansion and its perception as a steady career choice and plug these gaps to ensure it remains attractive to young talent,” he said.

The Secretary, Tourism Ministry, cited examples to state that the Indian hospitality professionals have gone global and are doing well which shows the strength of Indian education and the skills the country is supplying to the hospitality sector worldwide.

A story of growth

India is one of the most popular global destinations and the Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key growth drivers in the services sector. Singh said that while the industry has grown considerably, it still has a massive headroom for growth. Giving one more growth indicator, he said, “The Indian hospitality and tourism sector also helps foreign exchange (forex). Forex earnings pre-Covid grew at a cumulative annual growth rate of seven per cent. This shows the contribution of this sector to nation-building and its role as a development agent, a catalyst for socioeconomic growth and a significant source of forex gains.”

In several parts of the country, where the like of manufacturing or agriculture cannot take the role of driving growth, the services industry has provided for the local economy by enabling employment and revenue opportunities. Singh reiterated that the industry has recovered significantly from the pandemic shock and the worst is behind us.

A good year

Singh quoted his experience at the recent Pacific Asian Travel Association Summit, held in the UAE, to state that the stakeholders widely accepted that India’s recovery is among the best in the Asia Pacific region. “There are two reasons for this –– the confidence in our vaccination and that we opened up much earlier than some of the other countries in the region. As a result, we are seeing domestic tourism booming in various parts, where the metrics are crossing even the pre-pandemic levels,” informed Singh.

He also gave the example of Jammu & Kashmir where all previous records in footfalls have shattered as one such example among many. He also quoted data that shows that India is already at 70 per cent of international inbound travel compared to pre-Covid levels and it would be one of the earliest countries to achieve the pre-pandemic threshold. The percentage of affluent travellers has increased in India as well, which the Secretary said was an encouraging trend as it impacts other sectors such as well-being as well.

A better future ahead

Singh said that the year ahead would auger better for the sector. Several reasons, including various steps taken by the Government contribute to this. One of the reasons also is the impending precedence of the G20 Summit where India will take the mantle from Indonesia in December 2022. This will also result in many events and meetings in the country that would highlight the country’s destinations to the globe.

“The next calendar year would provide much better results and output to the industry. Your (the Indian hospitality sector) cooperation is invited in positioning India as a unique, warm, hospitable and welcoming country. The Indian Hospitality Summit and Awards 2022 would ensure the convergence of all stakeholders and they will come up with imaginative solutions for showcasing India’s hospitality sector in all its glory to global visitors,” summed up the Tourism Secretary.


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